Pros and Cons: Telemarketing

Telemarketing (also known as a phone-a-thon) takes individual solicitation a step further by having many people use the phones to ask for money.


  • It shares with individual solicitation the key ingredient of personal contact.
  • It allows you to deliver individual messages to specific people at an affordable cost.
  • When a telephone campaign is properly used with selected lists, the pledge rate can be as much as 10 to 12 times that of direct mail.
  • You can turn the phoning into a campaign which is festive and fun for the telemarketers. People will catch the excitement from others and be more motivated to call than would one person alone.


  • Not everyone who pledges money over the phone delivers. You can expect that up to 20% of people making pledges will not pay them.
  • Phone solicitors must be knowledgeable about your organization and trained in telemarketing techniques. This training and orientation can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Telemarketing has become so sophisticated that you will probably need to hire a consultant who specializes in telemarketing.
  • If telemarketers are not tactful and pleasant, they will do more harm than good.
  • Some potential donors feel that phone calls are intrusive and are put off by them.


  • Have a precise, achievable objective for your telemarketing call. Prepare a script.
  • Develop a carefully thought out plan for achieving the desired results.
  • Get thank-you notes out promptly with a stamped return envelope. Prompt follow-up is essential if you expect to collect the money people have pledged.
  • You can increase your results dramatically by having people of stature in your community or industry make your calls.
  • The key to successful telemarketing is to use it as just one piece of a total marketing and fundraising strategy.
  • The most successful telemarketing campaigns combine advertising and direct mail appeals with telemarketing. Use market tests to discover the best combination for your organization.



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